Cutting connections

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If you’re someone who can’t leave your cell phone for a minute, you may want to try what dozens of BYU students are doing: a media fast.

Imagine a world without laptops, phones or iPods. About one hundred BYU students are in the middle of a media fast that comes with the course work in a Communications class. For these students, it’s been a real throwback.

Oliver Ah Mu woke up this morning without an alarm. “My wife…kicked me out of bed,” says Mu.

Mu also had to drive to work in silence. He described how he moved to turn on the radio, but realized he couldn’t use it.

Mu took notes in class today using a pen and paper. He said, “I’m exploring my options…other things I can do than being hooked onto a machine.”

Throughout the day, Ah Mu only spoke to his wife face to face; once when arriving at school at the beginning of the day and once more at the end of the day before heading home.

“I didn’t realize how much I used technology,” Ah Mu said.

Communications 101 instructor Chad Curtis said, “They’re probably calling me nasty names in their heads while doing it but I think it’s an important learning opportunity for them.”

Each semester Curtis challenges his communication students to take a break from technology.

“They’ve never had to write grandma a letter by hand,” Curtis said.

It’s a media fast they’re expected to do for three days. From the last three years of doing this, Curtis said, “For the first time in their college career they feel like their getting enough sleep.”

At the end of the day, Oliver and his wife meet at a pre-determined time and place before going home.

“I keep asking people what time it is,” Ah Mu said.

Ah Mu admitted that he’s more organized without the luxury of instantly communicating plan changes.

Ah Mu says he looks forward to tomorrow, when he can check Facebook and talk to his wife on the phone. However, even then the assignment isn’t over. The students will write a three page paper about their electronics-free experience.

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